Tuesday, December 1, 2015

FHIA-03 Bananas - Sweetheart

I have often said that Sweetheart is one of my favorite bananas to grow here in Sarasota, FL. While it isn't the best tasting of all bananas - it is dependable, wind tolerant, versatile, and not susceptible to fungus. 

Sweetheart was developed by the Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola in Honduras as a possible replacement for Cavendish - the banana most commonly found in supermarkets. The flavor is quite similar to cavendish, however, it has a slightly more complex, apple flavor and the center texture is a bit creamier.

We planted a tissue cultured FHIA-03 in May of 2014. Since that time, we have had two very large racemes (bunches) of bananas with the original plant producing 5 pups during that 18 month period. 

The plants are strong and provide reliable bunches of good fruit. I do recommend only cutting off hands as they ripen, because once cut from the plant, the entire bunch will ripen within days. However, when left attached to the plant, you can spread the harvest over about 2 weeks.

Sweetheart is great cooked, used in baking, dried, or eaten out of hand when yellow. It should be eaten before then skin gets black splotches as the texture suffers when over ripe. 

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